MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Special prosecutors were expected to announce Wednesday whether they’ll file charges against a Wisconsin sheriff’s deputy who killed a man in a park six years ago when he was a suburban Milwaukee police officer.
Joseph Mensah has said Jay Anderson Jr. was reaching for a gun when he shot and killed him after finding Anderson sleeping in a park after hours in June 2016. Anderson was one of three people Mensah killed during a five-year stint at the Wauwatosa Police Department.
Mensah resigned from the Wauwatosa department in November 2020 and joined the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department.
Special prosecutor Scott Hansen and La Crosse County District Attorney Tim Gruenke are expected to announce their charging decision during a hearing Wednesday in Milwaukee County Circuit Court. They previously said they will either draft a criminal complaint, or a report to be made public explaining in detail why no charges were being brought.
Hansen said last week that he and Gruenke planned to announce the charging decision at Wednesday’s hearing, barring unforeseen circumstances.
Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm’s office chose not to charge Mensah with criminal wrongdoing in Anderson’s death or the two others.
But Anderson’s family’s attorney used a John Doe proceeding, a little-known Wisconsin legal maneuver similar to a grand jury inquiry, to persuade a judge 11 months ago that there was probable cause to support charges against Mensah in Anderson’s death and to convince him to appoint special prosecutors to decide whether to file any counts.
Mensah joined the Wauwatosa department in 2015, the year he fatally shot Antonio Gonzales. Prosecutors said Gonzales refused to drop a sword. The following year he shot Anderson in the park. Last year he fatally shot 17-year-old Alvin Cole as he fled from police following a disturbance in a mall. Mensah said Cole pointed a gun at him. That shooting sparked months of protests.
Mensah is Black. Gonzales identified as American Indian. Anderson and Cole were Black.